As scholars enter the classroom, I have "Game Day" music playing. Scholars give me 5 laps around the classroom. This helps scholars to get oxygen to their brains and clear their minds before we take a test. It can also quell some nerves and anxiety.
I remind scholars that we are a team. As University of Florida scholars, we work hard and win big. We set goals as a class and as individuals and we practice, practice, practice so that we can achieve them. We look at our performance on the previous quiz and we set a goal for where we want to be, as a team, on this assessment.
I explain that today is game day. We learned that on game day, strong teams get hype! Teams have bands, cheerleaders and fans who cheer them on to achieve success. Teams also get hype before they go on the field for the warm up and game. That is called the team huddle. That is how we, as a strong team, start all of our game days.
I call the team captains to the front of the room and they lead us in our Game Day cheer.
"What time is it? Game Time!"
"What time is it? Game Time!"
"Gators in the house- Chomp, Chomp, Chomp!"
"Gators in the house - Chomp, Chomp, Chomp!"
Then, the pencil manager passes out our special "Game Day" pencils. The material manager passes out some brain food to help us focus throughout the test (Goldfish in a dixie cup).
This is an essential time where we stretch our brains and practice answering some easy questions so that we remember what we learned.
We review our Text structure foldables (these remind us how to analyze text structure) and our ASLR strategy (A-answer the question, S-Support it!, L-link support to answer, R-re-state). ASLR helps us answer extended response. We also review the structure of a comparison/contrast BCR (in our writing notebooks)
Scholars also quickly determine the structure of 3 paragraphs (in teams) that we used at the beginning of the week.
We typically do a lot of call-and-response when reviewing the foldable and ASLR. You don't want to do anything difficult here. The point is to build confidence and help scholars feel good about what they've learned.
Scholars put folders up to help them "get in the zone" for game time. The material manager and I pass out the test and the text. I wish them luck, even though they don't need any, and scholars begin.
I circulate and give encouraging smiles and thumbs up to keep confidence high and to ensure that scholars are all focused on their own work. My ELL co-teacher pulls scholars to the back or to her room to provide them with accommodations. If she is not there, I pull scholars with the read aloud accommodation to the back table. I then balance circulating with accommodation giving.
When scholars are finished with the test they may draw a picture, put their heads down or read a book. No one is allowed to get up out of their seat except for extreme emergency. I remind scholars that they need to be strong teammates, and in order for us to reach our whole class goal, we must create a focused game environment even if we are finished.